Ghoulish Garden Blooms at Target

by on Sep.13, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Target stores are dropping their Halloween goods this week, and by far my favorite items are the Ghoulish Garden monster plants. They are all teeth, tongues, and eyeballs and so darn eerie and delightful. They remind me somewhat of the singing flowers in the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, or Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors. Sadly, they are all out stock around my stores and online so not sure if I’ll get one this season but my stems are crossed and rooting for good luck.

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IT Chapter Two Is A Completely Different Monster

by on Sep.10, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

IT Chapter Two leaves the optimism & scary wonder of youth behind to focus on downbeat adult trauma. This tonal shift is necessary for the story of the adult Losers Club to fully come full circle but like the book, it becomes less enjoyable, more tedious. It meanders more often than it amuses and takes full advantage of its long running time to flesh out lots of details. So we’re left with a brilliant cast who are suddenly but sporadically thrust into fantastical set pieces. There’s truly no lack of horror, and when it happens it’s bizarre & unsettling movie magic!

Yet all this drama also strangely also upstages Pennywise – and Bill Skarsgard – who seems to have a really small role. When the clown does show up, it’s in the form of some larger than life but clearly CGI creature. Enhanced practical effects would have helped sell some of these moments. Greater emphasis still is given to the monster’s Deadlights, three glowing orbs that are possibly its truest form, that don’t have much character at all. But I did appreciated that they dove into the mythos, origins of IT, and the Ritual of Chud.

Perhaps the episodic nature would lend itself better to another medium, but nothing here feels unnecessary. It folds in some needed scenes of their  younger counterparts to ensure the current narrative gels. This is a clunky, repetitive structure with some laggy pacing, and then we get to the end. Stephen King is notorious for failing to end his massive works with satisfying endings, and here again, the ending feels somewhat anti-climatic. I admit it wasn’t as bad a the tv mini-series and a vast improvement on the book. Perhaps expectations got in the way, considering the great choices director Andy Muschietti and writer Gary Dauberman have made in adapting this massive book and changing the story to fit the films.

IT Chapter Two is an engrossing, good film that is very, very long. I still preferred Chapter One since it’s dripping with nostalgia, but this one stays true to its central thesis. Fearing IT gives IT power and likewise believing you can destroy IT has the same effect. This is how the kids defeated Pennywise in Chapter One. But Pennywise is 27 years older, wiser, and has a grudge to settle. He knows adults struggle with believing in anything and thus are easy targets. It’s a good lesson to remember that the imagination of your childhood could possibly save you as an adult.

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Charred Tree Lamp

by on Sep.09, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Since as long as I can remember, or at least since watching Poltergeist, I’ve been infatuated with spooky trees. If I’m driving somewhere and see the perfectly haunted tree, I must stop and take a picture. It’s as annoying as it sounds.

Last year, there was a devastating and deadly wildfire that wiped Paradise, CA off the map (where my parents-in-law used to live–they have since relocated). Houses completely disappeared leaving behind only foundation slabs, yet strangely, charred remains of blackened trees remained standing. the visuals were all so eerie and sad. This stuck in my mind for a long time, and I’d been looking for a project to expunge it and create something good from it. So I made a lamp as a kind of remembrance piece.

1.  I first traced an existing lamp onto paper and then sketched what I would build over the existing structure. I wasn’t sure how intricate I could get with my chosen materials. My friend Britta reminded me that I should use a lamp in working order. Check. And, after watching a video by Christine McConnell, I felt encouraged to confidently use a Dremel tool to reshape the metal structure of the original lamp.

2. Using balled up paper and tape, I started building a structure of the branches. Some of the branches required more structure so I added 16 gauge wire armature to ensure the branches remained upright. 

3. I kept adding branches, refining detail and thickening the base. This was an iterative process of adding and removing. 

4. I wanted a rough, bumpy texture so I made “Monster Mud” – a mix of Celluclay, water, Elmer’s white glue, and joint compound – to create modeling clay. I sculpted over my existing structure in stages, letting inner layers dry before adding more clay. After several coats and sculptural detail, I let it dry thoroughly for week in the sun. I sanded it lightly to allow any loose bits to come off. 

5. Finally, I added a base coat of Krylon spray paint + primer, and added some highlights/lowlights with contrasting grey colors (which are impossible to capture in a pic). This burlap sack lamp shade seems to go well with the theme. 

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Charred Tree Lamp

by on Sep.09, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Since as long as I can remember, or at least since watching Poltergeist, I’ve been infatuated with spooky trees. If I’m driving somewhere and see the perfectly haunted tree, I must stop and take a picture. It’s as annoying as it sounds.

Last year, there was a devastating and deadly wildfire that wiped Paradise, CA off the map (where my parents-in-law used to live–they have since relocated). Houses completely disappeared leaving behind only foundation slabs, yet strangely, charred remains of blackened trees remained standing. the visuals were all so eerie and sad. This stuck in my mind for a long time, and I’d been looking for a project to expunge it and create something good from it. So I made a lamp as a kind of remembrance piece.

1.  I first traced an existing lamp onto paper and then sketched what I would build over the existing structure. I wasn’t sure how intricate I could get with my chosen materials. My friend Britta reminded me that I should use a lamp in working order. Check. And, after watching a video by Christine McConnell, I felt encouraged to confidently use a Dremel tool to reshape the metal structure of the original lamp.

2. Using balled up paper and tape, I started building a structure of the branches. Some of the branches required more structure so I added 16 gauge wire armature to ensure the branches remained upright. 

3. I kept adding branches, refining detail and thickening the base. This was an iterative process of adding and removing. 

4. I wanted a rough, bumpy texture so I made “Monster Mud” – a mix of Celluclay, water, Elmer’s white glue, and joint compound – to create modeling clay. I sculpted over my existing structure in stages, letting inner layers dry before adding more clay. After several coats and sculptural detail, I let it dry thoroughly for week in the sun. I sanded it lightly to allow any loose bits to come off. 

5. Finally, I added a base coat of Krylon spray paint + primer, and added some highlights/lowlights with contrasting grey colors (which are impossible to capture in a pic). This burlap sack lamp shade seems to go well with the theme. 

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READY OR NOT… for Date Day!

by on Aug.25, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

I somehow managed to pry Professor O’Evil off his iPad for a Date Day with the promise of a World Burrito bowl, which just happened to be next to a theater. After incessant whining (I won’t mention who did the whining), we went to see Ready Or Not. Is it me or did this movie come out of no where? There was no advance buzz, no ostentatious festival debut, and film just dropped into theaters with little fanfare.


Ready Or Not puts the eccentric rich on notice about bizarre family traditions. We all know they live privileged lives in fancy mansions and apparently can get away with murder. In the film, a new bride on her wedding night must defend herself in a brutal game of hide and seek where the stakes are life or death – literally. Professor O’Evil asked why the dumbwaiter is the first place everyone hides in fancy mansion movies. I assume it’s because screenwriters like for actors to say “dumbwaiter” since most actors were once waiters in L.A.
The cast here is perfect and embodies both dimwitted buffoonery and vile savagery very well. This helps bobble the tone from horror to comedy seamlessly. And, yes, it is bloody awful at times and earns its R rating. The tone really reminded me a lot of the movie CLUE (1985) with its confined set and whimsy but with the clear horror edge of a film like You’re Next (2011). Professor O’Evil said it reminded him of that movie with the clowns or that other movie with the girl and the gun. Needless to say he doesn’t watch a lot of horror movies but I really like that he tries to relate to my weirdness. I should make the same effort and like listen to… a jazz?
The ensemble here works very well together as a dysfunctional family and they all have a familiar, lived-in feeling that’s often difficult to achieve in ensembles. First, I should mention that Adam Brody is in this film, he is a delightful, and he is always my favorite. BUT it’s Samara Weaving, as the bride, who steals the show instantly becoming an iconic final girl. If you are not familiar with her, she was in a fun Netflix horror comedy called The Babysitter (2017), where she played the nanny from hell. Samara knows how to throw down fear, agony and distress with these guttural howls that literally made my bones ache. Professor O’Evil said she reminded him of less persnickety Nicole Kidman. They are both Australian and blond so I can see the resemblance but Samara has no air of aristocracy, seems approachable, and doesn’t leave a trail of frost behind her. I can see her getting an Oscar in the next 3-5 years but then we’ll lose her to those damn prestige films.

Ready Or Not was directed with a good amount of polish by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillettt, the duo behind segments in both Southbound (2015) and V/H/S (2012). For a low-budget $6 million film, the money is clearly all on the screen with the lavish well-appointed finery, although that one hall started to look quite familiar. The] team knows how to deliver comedic beats and manages to keep the suspense tight with a quickly moving pace. Even the emotional scenes between family members are kept brief and to the point. This was a ride and they knew not to interrupt the momentum. The surprising and hilarious finale was such a satisfying end. Many times screenwriters come up with a great premise but struggle to wrap things up. This is not the case and we loved the full tilt. 

Horror comedies are a tough sell and they don’t seem to satisfy neither horror hounds nor comedy fans. Ready Or Not is absurd fun, quite gory, and the perfect date movie. It almost doubled its budget at the box office this opening weekend and currently holds an 87% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes so audiences and strangely critics are enjoying this bizarre blend. I personally love the horror comedy subgenre and much like that World Burrito bowl Professor O’Evil is enjoying, it’s a complex mishmash of the best parts of the genre, topped with a fair amount of flair.
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Home Depot Wins Halloween…AGAIN!!!

by on Aug.23, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Someone at Home Depot really loves Halloween. The last three years they have put out some really inspired decor that Spirit Halloween can’t even touch. Be aware that the brick-and-mortar stores carry only a fraction of the items available on their website. But they have great sales and free shipping quite often throughout the season.

This year they have a full side pirate ship (well just the tip, bit still), a full size Headless Horseman, some great looking tombstones, a fairy colored dragon, and some cool inflatables. Check it out!

HomeDepot.com/Halloween

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Knitted Dissected Bat Specimen by Emily Stoneking

by on Aug.20, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Emily Stoneking

While visiting Portland last week I made a point to visit the exquisite museum-like store of natural wonders called Paxton Gate. On my bucket list was a taxidermy bat, but the staff members educated me on the rarity of ethically sourced bat bodies. Most bats sold by vendors are killed solely for collectors. The store rightfully refuses to sell something that might have been destroyed rather than gathered, so I removed a bat from my bucket list permanently.

As if by fate, I was directed to the artwork of Emily Stoneking, a knitter from Burlington, Vermont whose creations “explore the places where art and science intersect” – also available at her aKNITomy Etsy shop. From frogs to human brains to aliens, Emily knits whimsical objects that are meant to be be appreciated by those who are typically squeamish of such things. I immediately purchased the Knitted Dissected Bat Specimen (below) which is pinned to a board and splayed open with felted internal organs on display. It’s icky science art made adorable, and no bats where hurt in the process!

I had to learn more about Emily and her curiously wonderful art pieces.

Señor Scary: Some may consider your art macabre, but I think it’s whimsical and even educational. What drew you to such subject matter?

Emily Stoneking: I’m not sure what drew me to macabre art in the first place because I kinda feel like I’ve loved creepy stuff my entire life. I loved reading about diseases and stuff in my parents’ encyclopedias as a kid. I then grew up to study medieval history, and have a deep interest in historical epidemics, as well as medieval and early modern anatomical art. I love how in the eras before photography, the only way to learn about the body was to study illustrations done by master artists showing the inner workings of anatomy.

Señor: Did you study biology or physical sciences, and how accurate do you feel your artwork represents the internal workings of these creatures?

Emily: No, like I said, I studied medieval history and German! My knitted animal dissections are not very anatomically correct, I’m afraid. I took a little artistic license with the shapes and colors of the organs, and sometimes real scientists get cross with me about it! My human illustrations (which are newer works), I do try for some accuracy. I’ll study anatomical illustrations of the subject I’m tackling and go from there. But they’re definitely more art than science.

Señor: Where do you draw your inspiration and do you sometimes look at a thing and think, hmm, what does that look like on the inside?

Emily: I draw inspiration from everywhere! Conversations with friends will spark ideas, trips to museums, walking around the lake, all over the place! When I do think about what could the inside of a creature look like, I often end up going in a joke direction in my brain. Like, I make an Easter Bunny whose guts are that pink plastic grass you put in your easter basket, and his organs are all easter eggs. I have a plan to make a dissected shark and the contents of his stomach will be things like a spare tire, human leg, stop sign, etc…

Señor: I don’t know much about knitting, but I imagine there are no patterns for such creations (other than on your Etsy page). Is it trial and error or how do you approach the process?

Emily: Yeah, I make the patterns up myself, which is a definite trial and error process. I usually have an idea in my head of what shape I want to create, and a rough idea of the technique I want to use to achieve that. Then I’ll give it a try, and usually my numbers are off a bit, so I rip it out and start again. It’s normally little tweaks to get it right. I take tons of cryptic notes that probably only make sense to me, and then when I’m happy with it, I’ll write it up into a pattern that other people will understand and can use to make their own!


Señor: What has been your favorite project?

Emily: My favorite project was a set of fish that I was commissioned to make by Parcs Canada. They wanted a knitted walleye and a common pike, each about 20 inches long, each 3 dimensional, with very detailed realism. They were going to use them to teach kids how to clean their catch when fishing! So they wanted gills, and a zipper pocket in the stomach, where the kids could open the fish and remove the organs. That was a really cool project. I ended up having to knit the pieces and then hand dye the stripes on the fish to make them as realistic as possible.


Señor: Is there a dream project you’d like to tackle someday? Perhaps a full size dragon or dinosaur dissection?

Emily: Hahaha full sized dino sounds amazing!! I honestly wouldn’t know how to store such a beast, but heck yeah, that’d be wild! But yeah, up next on my wish list is to make a full sized bisected human collage. I’m not sure yet how I want to piece it together, which has been holding me back. But I hope to get started on it this fall.

You can purchase your own knit dissection on her Etsy site, aKNITomy and follow her Facebook.

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Bat Knit Dissection by Emily Stoneking

by on Aug.20, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Emily Stoneking

While visiting Portland last week I made a point to visit the exquisite museum-like store of natural wonders called Paxton Gate. On my bucket list was a taxidermy bat, but the staff members educated me on the rarity of ethically sourced bat bodies. Most bats sold by vendors are killed solely for collectors. The store rightfully refuses to sell something that might have been destroyed rather than gathered, so I removed a bat from my bucket list permanently.

As if by fate, I was directed to the artwork of Emily Stoneking, a knitter from Burlington, Vermont whose creations “explore the places where art and science intersect” – also available at her aKNITomy Etsy shop. From frogs to human brains to aliens, Emily knits whimsical objects that are meant to be be appreciated by those who are typically squeamish of such things. I immediately purchased the Knitted Dissected Bat Specimen (below) which is pinned to a board and splayed open with felted internal organs on display. It’s icky science art made adorable, and no bats where hurt in the process!

I had to learn more about Emily and her curiously wonderful art pieces.

Señor Scary: Some may consider your art macabre, but I think it’s whimsical and even educational. What drew you to such subject matter?

Emily Stoneking: I’m not sure what drew me to macabre art in the first place because I kinda feel like I’ve loved creepy stuff my entire life. I loved reading about diseases and stuff in my parents’ encyclopedias as a kid. I then grew up to study medieval history, and have a deep interest in historical epidemics, as well as medieval and early modern anatomical art. I love how in the eras before photography, the only way to learn about the body was to study illustrations done by master artists showing the inner workings of anatomy.

Señor: Did you study biology or physical sciences, and how accurate do you feel your artwork represents the internal workings of these creatures?

Emily: No, like I said, I studied medieval history and German! My knitted animal dissections are not very anatomically correct, I’m afraid. I took a little artistic license with the shapes and colors of the organs, and sometimes real scientists get cross with me about it! My human illustrations (which are newer works), I do try for some accuracy. I’ll study anatomical illustrations of the subject I’m tackling and go from there. But they’re definitely more art than science.

Señor: Where do you draw your inspiration and do you sometimes look at a thing and think, hmm, what does that look like on the inside?

Emily: I draw inspiration from everywhere! Conversations with friends will spark ideas, trips to museums, walking around the lake, all over the place! When I do think about what could the inside of a creature look like, I often end up going in a joke direction in my brain. Like, I make an Easter Bunny whose guts are that pink plastic grass you put in your easter basket, and his organs are all easter eggs. I have a plan to make a dissected shark and the contents of his stomach will be things like a spare tire, human leg, stop sign, etc…

Señor: I don’t know much about knitting, but I imagine there are no patterns for such creations (other than on your Etsy page). Is it trial and error or how do you approach the process?

Emily: Yeah, I make the patterns up myself, which is a definite trial and error process. I usually have an idea in my head of what shape I want to create, and a rough idea of the technique I want to use to achieve that. Then I’ll give it a try, and usually my numbers are off a bit, so I rip it out and start again. It’s normally little tweaks to get it right. I take tons of cryptic notes that probably only make sense to me, and then when I’m happy with it, I’ll write it up into a pattern that other people will understand and can use to make their own!


Señor: What has been your favorite project?

Emily: My favorite project was a set of fish that I was commissioned to make by Parcs Canada. They wanted a knitted walleye and a common pike, each about 20 inches long, each 3 dimensional, with very detailed realism. They were going to use them to teach kids how to clean their catch when fishing! So they wanted gills, and a zipper pocket in the stomach, where the kids could open the fish and remove the organs. That was a really cool project. I ended up having to knit the pieces and then hand dye the stripes on the fish to make them as realistic as possible.


Señor: Is there a dream project you’d like to tackle someday? Perhaps a full size dragon or dinosaur dissection?

Emily: Hahaha full sized dino sounds amazing!! I honestly wouldn’t know how to store such a beast, but heck yeah, that’d be wild! But yeah, up next on my wish list is to make a full sized bisected human collage. I’m not sure yet how I want to piece it together, which has been holding me back. But I hope to get started on it this fall.

You can purchase your own knit dissection on her Etsy site, aKNITomy and follow her Facebook.

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CRAWL Death Rolls My Phobias

by on Jul.22, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Dorothy, my Florida friend, and I went to see CRAWL and I didn’t tell her about my irrational fear of alligators. I’m not sure if it’s their beady eyes, their snarling snouts, or my deep-seated childhood memory of a crocodile chomping off Captain Hook’s hand and then later finishing him off. I can’t tell the difference between the two tailed, long snout beasts so bear with me. Alligators are powerful, mythic beasts, and to my companion they are everyday. She tells me they were in her backyard and if referring to an obnoxious squirrel. To a West Coast boy, alligators are just not a normal thing. She probably fears earthquakes more than I do.

I knew very little about CRAWL going in, like most horror movies, other than there was a storm and alligators. I didn’t realize the two lead characters where trapped in the crawlspace under a home, next to a gator farm during a category 5 hurricane. Bells, whistles and flags all went up simultaneously.

After a brief introduction to swimmer girl, the movie gets into the storm and into the crawl space. I was impressed at how quickly it got to the point and though I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, I did immediately sense the claustrophobia and the sense of being hunted. And then came the brisk alligator action. The alligator’s death rolls were so well done and I shrieked giddily. Dorothy seemed nonplussed throughout the ordeal of this movie and I sunk into my seat, fists held up and ready to punch the modern day dinosaur in the snout. I was exhausted by the end.

The plot is clever and refreshingly simple and other than a few father-daughter emotional scenes, the movie’s focus really stayed in the water. The storm effects were great and I didn’t realize that water could get up past a second floor childhood bedroom so quickly. Again, West Coast boy where our annual rainfall is like 8 inches. This was a reminder that nature is and will always be in control.

CRAWL may not be the high art, but horror fans looking for a well-made, briskly paced, tense, fun summer thrill ride couldn’t do better. There is minimal gore except for one scene that looked like teenagers attacking a pizza when the lid opens. I left completely satisfied and in no need to quibble any flaws. I do however wonder why Paramount Pictures didn’t do a greater marketing push given the two big horror names behind this, director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) and producer Sam Raimi (Evil Dead). In its second week, it has all but disappeared from theaters, and the shoebox theater it was relegated to was full in the middle of the day. Sounds like a missed opportunity.

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Quick Takes: Midsommar, Starfish, Annabelle Comes Home

by on Jul.19, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Midsommar is a folk horror daydream promising serenity for a pound of pulpy, red flesh. It is hypnotic, blooms with dread & drops unsettling, grisly visuals that while expected still land hard. Ambitious, unique & masterful auteur work, but it sadly does perpetuate xenophobia.

Starfish brings an arthouse apocalypse filled with stunning, hypnotic visuals, Lovecraftian monsters & a moody alt rock score. It all hangs on a captivating lead performance but is ensnarled in too much enigma, dampening the impact of this unique & somber grief piece.

Annabelle Comes Home is a surprisingly clever third installment due to the setting, strong cast, and menagerie of nasties. I enjoyed the glimpses into the Warren’s other cases & rather than being a retread, it simply dives in. A treat for fans but newbies may get lost in the fog.

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